The Problems with Banning Bossy (Guest Post)

Today’s guest post is brought to you by one of my teen readers, Lexi!

The Problems with Banning Bossy: A Biblical Perspective
Bossy: given to ordering people about; overly authoritative; domineering
Leader: a person or thing who leads; a guiding or directing head, as of an army, movement, or political group
The Ban Bossy Campaign: Started through a partnership between the Girl Scouts and Lean In (a community for gender equality and the encouragement of female leadership [particularly in the workplace]), this movement’s main idea is basically that (1) You shouldn’t call a girl “bossy,” because (2) you wouldn’t call a boy “bossy,” and (3) because calling a girl “bossy” discourages her from being a leader.
As the oldest of seven children, I’ve been called bossy a fair share of times. When I was younger, my sisters would tell each other not to listen to me, because I was being bossy. My mother would often remind me when I wasn’t in charge. When I was in charge, she would remind me not to lord it over the others. So why would someone like me take issue with a movement like this? Let me tell you.
1. Don’t Call a Girl Bossy
First of all, as it has been pointed out by others before me, the simple banning of one word amounts to nothing but censorship. This generally does not sit well with people who have been brought up in a culture which guarantees the right to free speech. Instead, I would add one word to this statement. “Don’t call a girl bossy unkindly.”
Attack the problem, not the person. Tell her that she is being bossy, rather than that she is bossy. As Ephesians 4:32 reminds us, we, as Christians, are to be kind to one another. In addition, women are told in 1 Peter 3:4 that a gentle and quiet spirit is very precious in the sight of God. Even if we don’t necessarily like hearing it, when a fellow believer points out that we are being bossy, they may just be encouraging us to do right.
As Proverbs 27:6a tells us, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.”
2. You Wouldn’t Call a Boy Bossy
Yes, I actually would call a boy bossy, if the occasion called for it. The thing is, my brothers are usually more prone to being violent to get their way than they are to being bossy. The commandment to obey those that have the rule over us (Hebrews 13:17) is all-inclusive. Both males and females are expected to obey it, and if someone is not in a position of authority over us, we do not have to listen to them. So, if someone is telling us what to do and that person is not in a position of authority, they are being bossy. And as I’ve already mentioned, if we’re following God’s command to admonish fellow Christians, calling that person out may be helpful to them in the long run. Am I really doing anyone a service, then, by choosing not to tell them that they are being bossy?
3. Calling a Girl “Bossy” Discourages Her from Being a Leader
Once again, I beg to differ. As I said before, I’ve always been a little prone to bossiness. However, when I am being bossy, my friends, siblings, and parents are willing to call me out on it. They remind me that even though Jesus is God, the Lord and Creator of the Universe, He was willing to humble himself and come to earth. To be the baby in a manger. To be the man on the cross. To give up His right to lead. To instead, be a servant. A servant for me. He was patient and kind, and He is the One I should be imitating, in order to be a better leader. In Titus 2, older women are told to be reverent, not slanderers, and teachers of good things, as qualifications for instructing the younger women. These are attributes I should be trying to cultivate.
While I’m far from perfect, I’m glad to say that I am a recovering bossy girl. God can use my desire to be in charge. He can even mold that desire into a talent for leadership, but first I must submit that desire to Him, to do with as He pleases. I must learn to respectfully obey Him, as well as respecting those whose leadership He places me under. Good leaders lead, but great leaders are willing to follow as well. So, if you see me being bossy, please, let me know, and help me to someday (Lord willing) be a great leader.
Lexi Lindow is eighteen, homeschooled, a senior in High School, the oldest of seven, and a Preacher’s Kid from rural Illinois. She loves reading, writing, eating, sitting on her swing, talking to squirrels, and playing her guitar. She loves actual books, and hates computers almost as much as they hate her. You can find her nearby, frolicking in a local field and being antisocial with all of her other homeschooled friends.

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Samantha Shank has been an entrepreneur all her life. She started an educational blog and store, Learn in Color, at 14 years old. Within 3 years, she was making a full time income as a freelance graphic designer and marketer as Learn in Color grew. Samantha holds a MSEd in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Gifted Education.


  1. The “bossy” thing irks me to no end. I tell both my kids (boy & girl) when they are being bossy.
    In the end, it is about treating others with respect. LEADERS do that. So, by allowing bossy behavior, and not differentiating it with LEADING behavior, we are probably hurting these girls’ chances of being leaders outside the local playground.

  2. Aw, you do an older woman’s heart good <3 I'm so thankful for this collection of millenial voices that don't make me want to run into the wood and live out the rest of my days away from the insanity of our culture. Reading things like this reminds me that God is faithful to tune hearts to wisdom from generation to generation. <3 Good job!


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